Conversation with Mohammad Yunus- Social Business in COVID Times

Dr. Nisha Pandey

Dr. Nisha Pandey, organized and hosted a talk of Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize Laureate 2006 and founder of Gramen Bank in association with Indian Humanistic Association. Muhammad Yunus is a professor of economics, often nicknamed ‘banker to the poor’, He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his work to fight poverty with his Grameen Bank.

Prof Yunus gave us a very positive direction stating that the economy was in turbulent times before Covid too. It was a machine of various social, political, economic and cultural problems. He stated that instead of waking up this machine it will be fruitful and economic if we start a new machine which is both profitable and productive in this new post-covid situation.

Prof. Yunus said “It's hardly 100 days and the whole world is in the grip of this virus that has slowed down the economy. I keep saying that it has put the economy in a coma it's a non-functioning economy, put in a bed, hardly breathing. I look at it and ask the question: “Should we try to wake it up or let it stay in sleep?”

“The ‘new’ machine. Corona has done us a great favor putting this machine to stop. Now, should we go back wake it up? My answer is: “No going back!” We don't want to go back. We don't wake up this machine. We want to create a new machine. We can do that and go in a different direction so that we create a world but there'll be no global warming. There will be no wealth concentration. There will be no massive unemployment. We can design it and make it happen so this is the good time to do that and there we have to make sure what kind of engine we build for that purpose. We have to take the responsibility now this is a good time to redesign the system in the right way and compensate for all the wrong things that we have done so that the world will forgive us. Help us get to the new world now that the Corona-virus has put it to sleep. You give us the leadership. If you get us the leadership we'll give you 10 Nobel Prizes not just one, because you save the world”

Prof. Yunus gave us a valuable suggestion that in order to avoid the problems which possibly incur because of migration, the migration should be reduced and stooped in the first instance. It is for this reason that the rural areas should be developed. New trades and businesses in the rural areas should be set up, people should be made skilled, finance should be developed, supply-chains should be taken care of in order to develop the rural areas. Once the rural economies are developed and rural business spur off then people can get their sources of livelihood and employment opportunities in the rural areas itself and they do not need to travel to the urban areas, for searching their income and livelihood options.

He also stated that the inferiority that we have attached to the informal sector is stopping it from being a profitable business. Efforts should not always be made to push the people from the informal sector to the formal sector but constructive efforts should be made to grow, nurture and develop the informal sector itself. The informal sector do not have sufficient finance and funding. Therefore, it is very essential that Financial Institutions and banks should be tailored especially for the rural areas which would cater to the needs of the rural masses and the small micro-credit lenders. Therefore, it was stated that the perspective towards the informal sectors should be changed and the informal economy should have more 'legislations', 'regulations'' and a chambers of commerce should be made especially for regulating the informal economies.

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